How this super saver feeds her family for $50 a week
FIRST home owner Eliza Morris reckons the frugal life chose her.
She's a savvy shopper and started saving money for a house deposit about five years ago.
Now she's put all her best tips into a new blog called The Frugal Life Chose Me.
Her blog's introduction reads:
"Welcome to my blog on being a frugal AF person. Some people roll their eyes at my eagerness for a bargain, but I just can't shake that thrill of saving money; especially on food!"
Ms Morris uses a budgeting service, which means they take her money and she gets a small amount to spend each week.
With just $50 a week for food she feeds two people gourmet items like lamb back-straps, chicken bacon and mushroom pasta, spicy vegetarian curry and fish.
There's other staples like budget friendly bolognese on the menu.
Breakfast includes Burgen grain toast and cereal, while lunch is often leftovers.
"I don't buy meat unless it's reduced to clear," she told the QT.
Ms Morris said she even goes so far as to check the dates on meat she likes and then goes back to the store close to their use by to get a reduction.
"It's 70-90 per cent off and if you freeze it, its fine as long as you defrost it properly in the fridge."
She also makes a list of meals to cook for the week, using pantry staples. And she portions out lunch when dishing up dinner.
"I have a huge selection of herbs and spices and don't buy pre-packed."
Instead to save money Ms Morris cooks everything from scratch.
"Crumbed chicken is so much more than regular chicken breast and it's so easy to crumb chicken.
"Curry is really easy to make, you just need the spices on hand, it's a fraction of the price.
"I buy only what I need on the list and keep the freezer full."
Her tip for high quality mince is to buy it at Costco in bulk.
"I don't like cheap mince."
Instead of forking out up to $15 a kilo at some supermarket chains for premium mince you can get it for $8.99 a kilo at Costco.
You have to buy a bulk amount but Ms Morris breaks it down into 500g lots and freezes them up.
"It's a fallacy that pre-made chips are cheaper than fruit and veg. It's not, a bag of apples can cost less than a bag of chips."
She owns a new home in Ripley's Providence estate and is paying it off with one income.
"My partner is an international student and can only work up to 20 hours a week.
"It limits the budget."
The budget includes $40 a week for fuel, $25 for clothing and $25 to spend on entertainment and eating out.
Some goes to pets and medication and the rest bills, home loan and savings.
To save money she buys clothes from the Op shop, uses vouchers and does a lot of free activities.
She's found places where you can get a decent meal on the cheap.
Ms Morris said Sushi Train and Ramen were her picks.
"I find a lot of freedom in it (being frugal)," she said.
"I'm getting all my bills paid off."
To save money on clothes Ms Morris frequents her local Op shop.
"I'm a big Op shopper.
"I was losing a lot of weight and didn't want to spend lots on something that wouldn't fit for long.
"I'm a little obsessed with looking up what they would have cost."
She has picked up Jacqui E, Basque and other fashion label dresses for a small price.
One well-made dress which was $20, cost $260 originally. She bagged a dress for $12 which would have been $160, another she paid $15 for cost $150 new.
The best Op shop, she said, was Raceview Lifeline. Another spot is Springfield Vinnies - there she has purchased leather shoes for $8 that retailed at $110 new.
It is possible to have a holiday while on a tight budget.
Ms Morris recently went to Sydney with her partner.
She got flights for $110 return, spent $900 on accommodation and had $800 spending money for food, transfers and attractions.
The seven night holiday was possible with some research.
Ms Morris visited Madame Tussauds, the aquarium and Taronga Zoo with a ticket bundle through her Union Shopper membership.
"I googled everything that was for free. We took a bus to Bondi, visited Manly, the Botanic Gardens and Hyde Park.
Ms Morris said when she looked up ideas on how to be frugal she could only find sites telling her what not to do.
"I still get my nails done and buy coffee. I wanted to give people ideas on how to save."
For her tips on how to buy the best Op shop clothes and other tips on being frugal see her blog at frugallife645343050.wordpress.com/